Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
PA Ed Policy Roundup May 31: One in five U.S. schoolchildren are living below federal poverty line
Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now
reach more than 3600 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors,
administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's
staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition
team members, Superintendents, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher
leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations,
education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory
agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via
emails, website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
"Some insiders are
suggesting that, since they already have the votes, Republicans simply will
pass a similar no-tax-hike plan to the ones crafted by Corbett, toss it on the
new guy’s desk and see what happens. Then
Wolf will have a choice. He can blink, cave in on his budget plans, or draw a
line in the sand, veto the spending plan and keep legislators in Harrisburg through
the July 4th weekend while threatening to shut the government down. Pennsylvania
has needed this kind of showdown for years. It has an education spending
formula that is seriously out of whack, and public pension plans that are
bleeding red ink. It’s time for real solutions.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. But first buckle your seat
belts. It’s likely going to be a bumpy ride."
Editorial: It’s show time
for a budget showdown
Chester Daily Local
News POSTED: 05/30/15, 6:22 PM EDT
On your mark …Get
set … Go? Uh, maybe.
Do not pass go. Do
not collect $30 billion. At least not if you’re one of those folks who toils in
the Pennsylvania Capitol. Welcome to the
good old days in Harrisburg. Tomorrow is June 1. Our new governor
and legislators have exactly 30 days to reach an agreement on a budget plan. Republicans who
control the state House and Senate are probably suffering from a serious case
of déjà vu. Excuse them if they seem a bit disoriented. Four years of Tom
Corbett will do that. Corbett was
criticized for a lot of things – even by some in his own party. But one thing
is indisputable. The guy knew how to deliver a budget. On time and without a
officials at its board meeting last week approved a resolution addressing
ongoing concerns over mandated standardized testing. The resolution had also been discussed at
legislative committee meetings and an education committee meeting in early May.
Those meetings were prior to the board passing the resolution by a unanimous
vote during the May business meeting. According
to Maureen O’Leary, chairwoman of the legislative committee, the board’s plan
is to pass along the resolution to legislators and others who might be
interested in the subject. (Scroll down to read full resolution)
Storify for #FairFundingPA Chat with Terry Madonna -
PARSS May 27, 2015
Pennsylvania's major education leadership organizations
meet on Twitter at 8 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month to discuss need for a
school funding formula and other issues. Pollster @TerryMadonna joined us on
Tuesday, May 26 to discuss legislature, budget, tax reform & basic
We compiled the data
from state State Department of Education reports on secondary education
costs for a 10-year time span. What we found is that fees vary widely by
district, often spiking when a settlement is reached in a civil case (the
department includes settlements when calculating legal fees paid by a
district). We wanted to let you dig
through the data. Below you'll find an
interactive that allows a user to look up legal fees from any district or
charter school in the state and compare them to other districts.
More than one out of
every five school-age children in the U.S. were living below the federal
poverty line in 2013, according to new federal statistics released Thursday.
That amounted to 10.9 million children — or 21 percent of the total — a six
percent increase in the childhood poverty rate since 2000. Childhood poverty rates were on the rise for
every racial group, ranging from 39 percent for African Americans and 36
percent for Native Americans, 32 percent for Hispanics and 13 percent for
Asians and whites. The data, part of an
annual report to Congress from the U.S. Department of Education, offers a
snapshot of the country’s education system, including information about
preschool, higher education and private K-12 school enrollment.
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP)
— A high-ranking Pennsylvania state senator from Allentown who is facing a
drunken driving charge is back in public, four weeks after being injured in a
motorcycle accident. Sen. Pat Browne was
at Saucon Valley Country Club on Thursday to attend a campaign fundraiser for
him, the Morning Call of Allentown reports. Browne, who chairs the Senate Appropriations
Committee, is expected to return to the Capitol next week before budget
negotiations heat up.
Centre Daily Times Letter BY JIM PAWELCZYK May 28, 2015
lives in FergusonTownship and serves on the State CollegeAreaSchool District Board of
School Directors. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the district or
No sound bite
explains or solves Pennsylvania’s
pension crisis. Thankfully, Harrisburg’s
perennial pension debates have taken on a more serious note. Perhaps sound
policy decisions will trump the political posturing that has left the
Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System hamstrung. PSERS many problems
are well-chronicled. They will impact public education and the economy for
decades. What should the eventual reform package include? In my view, a
complete solution needs to reflect the following realities:
"With the change, AGIS
will go from students having a gym class every day to just twice in the
eight-day cycle. The time period for lunch and recess together is also being
limited to 45 minutes total rather than the current hour long session."
Avon Grove parents plead
West Chester Daily Local By
Marcella Peyre-Ferry, For 21st Century Media POSTED: 05/29/15, 6:59 AM EDT |
Parents came out to board meetings and information sessions to object to the
restructuring of the class schedules at the Avon Grove Intermediate School, but
their input did not change the administration’s plan. At the May 28 School Board meeting, the six
to one vote of approval paved the way for the changes to take place in the
fall, even though parent voices were opposed.
The proposal changes the AGIS schedule to focus on 90 minute educational
blocks for language arts, math, social studies and science. Enrichment periods
including art, music, and physical education are put into 45 minute blocks that
change on an eight-day sliding schedule.
“This will mark the second
consecutive year where we are attempting to reinvest in academic supports for
our students and community. This district had cut over $8.3 million of supports
over the last five years. We need to improve academically and we need to continue
to work within the confines of our existing budget.
Darby School Board
whittles down tax increase
Delco Times By Linda Reilly, Times Correspondent POSTED: 05/30/15, 11:40 PM EDT
DARBY >> The
Upper Darby School District held a hearing on the proposed 2015-2016
budget Tuesday. The 3.6 percent tax
increase initially announced in February was reduced to 1.8 percent by the time
the board approved the document in April.
“The 1.8 percent tax request represents the smallest tax increase in the
last 14 years going back to the 2001-02 school year,” Business Manager Ed Smith
said, speculating the low increase was the reason there were no objections,
suggestions or comments at the hearing. “The bottom line is that there is a
$1.1 million reduction from the preliminary budget to our proposed final
expenditure budget.” The $179.3 million
budget, with the 1.8 percent tax increase, or 6.23 mills, calls for a total
millage rate of 35.2 mills.Homeowners
in the communities of CliftonHeights, Millbourne and Upper
Darby paying $3,459 this year for a home assessed at $100,000 will
pay $3,521, an additional $62, if the proposed budget is adopted at theJune
Some of the
signatures were collected by a convicted criminal, others reportedly by minors.
Some of the signers
listed a homeless shelter as their address.
Several pages were temporarily lost, and an expert says multiple
signatures are in the same handwriting. The
question: Should those irregularities, and others, invalidate the Academy of
Business and Entrepreneurship Charter School’s petition to have an appeal heard
by the State Charter School Appeals Board? RELATED:
A closer look at the petitionOn
Monday, a County Court hearing on that issue will begin. County Court Judge
Joseph Madenspacher will preside.The
charter school, known as ABECS, wants the appeals board to reverse the School District of Lancaster’s rejection of its application
to set up shop here.
"ERS looked at per-pupil
spending in the district between 2011 and 2014, as well as what factors drove
the decline. That involved comparing revenue for those years to changes in
fixed costs, or costs the district has to pay by law. The report isolated three
main fixed costs that have widened the gap created by a decrease in state
funding over the past four years: pensions, health care and charter school
Where does all of the PhillySchool
District's money go?
WHYY Newsworks BY LAURA BENSHOFF MAY 29, 2015
Philadelphia public school classrooms received less money
last year than in 2008, according to a study released this week by consulting
group Education Resource Systems. This
study echoes what representatives from the district have been saying in
community budget meetings and City Council hearings as they lobby for a funding
increase of $300 million in recurring revenue.
"The main theme ... is our continued fixed cost increases,"
said district Chief Financial Officer Matt Stanksi. That, he said, is "why
we keep coming back, year after year, asking for money."
Dream act — what one
Philly public school would do if Wolf has his way
WHYY Newsworks BY LAURA BENSHOFF MAY 29, 2015
What would you do
with two and a half million dollars? Or, $2,447,020 to be exact.
That's how much
School would get if the School District of Philadelphia
gets all of the $265 million in additional resources proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf
and Mayor Michael Nutter. Not saying it
will happen, but what if ....? Both men
face an uphill battle to get those numbers through the General Assembly and
City Council respectively, but enough with the politicians for a minute. WHYY/NewsWorks wanted to know what a public
school might do with the additional dollars if they ever arrived, so we went to
At North Philly school,
Wolf makes a pitch for more education funding
WHYY Newsworks BY LAURA BENSHOFF MAY 29, 2015
WilliamH.HunterElementary School students were in the
spotlight Friday as Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Mayor Michael Nutter visited
the school in North Philadelphia. The children
entertained the dignitaries with a spirited rendition of "Take Me Out to
the Ball Game." In between meeting
and greeting the smiling kids, Wolf stressed the urgency of having his budget
passed. "The time is now," he
said. "If we don't act now, it's going be too late. We've got to act now,
we can't lose another child. This is a responsibility for all of Pennsylvania." This is Wolf's fourth visit to a Philadelphia school as he
promotes his budget plan, which calls for a tax on natural gas production to
help increase education funding. His plan calls for $159 million in new
basic-education funding for Philadelphia,
as well as millions more to districts across the state.
If you’re a parent
in the School District
of Philadelphia, you may
have worried that officials would try to close your school. Or that your child
wouldn’t have a nurse, would have to walk two miles just to get to school,
or that their favorite teacher would strike. But City Council has a different worry:
Can your child read and write cursive? At
Council's hearings on school funding this week, cursive — not Mayor Michael Nutter’s proposal to plug the district's budget gap by
raising property taxes — dominated the debate.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum
Joins GOP Race for White House
Education Week Politics
K-12 Blog By Lauren Camera on May 28, 2015 8:40 AM
candidate to the already bursting field of GOP presidential contenders: Rick
Santorum, the highly conservative former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, launched his campaign late
Wednesday afternoon. Santorum, who
served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995 and in the Senate
from 1995 to 2007 and unsuccessfully vied for his party's presidential
nomination last go-around, joined the growing ranks of Republican presidential
hopefuls that are trouncing the Common Core State Standards. "Our children, well, they deserve an
education customized—customized!—to maximize their potential," Santorum said during his speech in Cabot, Pa.,
at Penn United Technologies, a metal manufacturing plant. "The first step
in that process is joining me to drive a stake in the heart of common
But that's where his
focus on education started and stopped.
A CONTEST for the
least popular arm of the federal government would have many strong contenders. There’s the soft, cuddly Internal Revenue
Service. Also the National Security Agency, America’s Peeping Tom. And let’s
not forget the Environmental Protection Agency, seen by many manufacturers as
one big, mossy, bossy paean to regulation run amok.
But for politicians,
in particular Republicans, another challenger comes into play: the Department
of Education. In a Republican
presidential debate during the 2012 campaign, it wasn’t just on the list of
“three agencies of government” that Rick Perry famously promised to eliminate.
It was one of the two that he succeeded in naming before he stopped short,
forgetting the third.
And it finds itself
once again in Republican presidential candidates’ cross hairs, all the more so
because of Common Core standards, supported by the education secretary, Arne
Duncan, and cited by many excessively alarmed conservatives as a federal
takeover of curriculum.
HARTFORD — Several
Wall Street billionaires who have invested heavily in the expansion of charter
schools contributed more than $200,000 to Democrats in the 2013-14 election
cycle, helping Gov. Dannel P. Malloy secure re-election. The campaign contributors earned their
fortunes as hedge fund managers and private equity investors before earning
reputations as "education philanthropists." They have helped bankroll
charter school movements throughout the country, spending to influence
elections and to support advocacy movements.
Malloy opened this year's legislative session with a budget proposal
that included $4.6 million in funding to open two new privatelymanaged charter
schools, and an additional $17 million for new charter school seats in the next
two years. Funding for local school districts would have remained flat.
now for EPLC’s 2015-2016 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program
available now for the 2015-2016
Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).
The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and
Leadership Center (EPLC). With more
than 400 graduates in its first sixteen years, this Program is a premier
professional development opportunity for educators, state and local
policymakers, advocates, and community leaders. State Board of
Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants. Past participants include state policymakers,
district superintendents and principals, charter school leaders, school
business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide
association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education
and community leaders. Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer
or another organization. The Fellowship
Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 17-18, 2015 and
continues to graduation in June 2016.
Sign up here to receive a weekly
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predictable and sustainable Basic Education Funding Formula by 2016
Sign up to support fair funding »
Campaign for Fair
Education Funding website
Our goal is to
ensure that every student has access to a quality education no matter where
they live. To make that happen, we need to fundamentally change how public
schools are funded. The current system is not fair to students or taxpayers and
our campaign partners – more than 50 organizations from across Pennsylvania -
agree that it has to be changed now. Student performance is stagnating. School
districts are in crisis. Lawmakers have the ability to change this formula but
they need to hear from you. You
can make a difference »
COMMUNITY MEETING: PUBLIC
SCHOOL FUNDING IN BERKSCOUNTY
BerksCountyIU June 23, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 Time:7:00 – 8:30 p.m. | Registration begins
at 6:30 p.m.
Location: BerksCounty Intermediate Unit,
1111 Commons Boulevard,
Local school district leaders will discuss how state funding issues are
impacting our children’s education opportunities, our local taxes, and our
communities. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn how you
can support fair and adequate state funding for public schools in BerksCounty. State lawmakers who represent BerksCounty
have been invited to attend to learn about challenges facing area schools.
PILCOP: Adequately and Fairly
Funding Pennsylvania Schools: What are the Needs and Where Does the Money Come
From? (Live Webinar) June 8, 2015, 12:00 — 2:00 P.M.
Michael Churchill will speak about what schools need and where the money comes
from in this Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) webinar on June
8. Click here to register.
Governor Wolf has
proposed $500 million in new funding for public schools starting this July. He
has proposed as shale extraction tax and increases in personal income and sales
taxes to pay for this. This Philadelphia
Bar Association Education Law Section and PBI are hosting a webinar that will
focus on how much public schools need and differing proposals on how state
funds should be distributed this year and in the future. Other focuses will
include the current local tax burdens for public schools and issues concerning
how the state should raise revenues to pay for these programs. The program will also provide information
about the components of a good funding formula and look at the work of the
Basic Education Funding Commission and the state-wide Campaign for Fair
Education Funding, of which we are a leading member.